I moved to California with my husband in January 2020. We were so excited to explore the US and beyond from a different coast. I was so excited to get to know a new city. I had been in DC for what felt like forever and San Francisco had this cool vibe I couldn’t wait to make my own. The world had a different plan.
Early on in the pandemic, we knew it was going to last a while, so we moved forward with our plan to start a family. Immediately after this decision I bought Emily Oster’s book Expecting Better, bought these ovulation strips and started researching prenatal vitamins. So read on if you want to follow my rabbit hole of finding the ‘best’ prenatal vitamin and why. If you want to jump to the conclusion: I ended up choosing Full Circle Prenatals and Smarty Pants Gummies. (Disclaimer: I’ve got affiliate links in this blog).
What’s the deal with prenatal vitamins and where do I start?
If these questions are on your mind and you have no idea what you’re doing, you need to go back a step. Fooblie experts Jill and Rachel did a deep dive on the best prenatal vitamin for YOU. Check that out and then come back here. There really is no right or wrong prenatal, what is important is that you remember to take em!
This is what mattered most to me:
Choline, choline, choline
Really, this is what made my decision. Have you heard of choline? It’s sorta a big deal, just like folic acid! But no one really knows about it.
Choline prevents neural tube defects and helps with brain development. Seriously, kids whose mamas had higher levels of choline while pregnant scored better on cognitive tests when they were 7. This improved brain function is good for the moms too. I think my new mom brain is worse than my pregnancy brain. I’ll take all the help I can get!
Naturally, it’s found in yummy foods like eggs (eat the yolk, people!). But you have to eat a lot of eggs. Two eggs have half the daily recommended intake. It’s also found in animal liver, but I don’t really eat that. Maybe an occasional pâté. Anyway, this was one nutrient I was not getting in my diet.
Full Circle is the only brand I found that had all the choline I needed. I was actually shocked that most other brands hovered at around 10% daily intake.
My body told me it was working
One thing that made me feel good? And if this is TMI scroll on. My pee turned fluorescent yellow. Know what that means? My body was taking the folate, B12 and B2 it needed and getting rid of the rest. While it did startle me at first, it eventually made me feel pretty good because I could see it working.
The ingredients are top
The Fooblie RD’s tell me to look for folate in the methylfolate form. Check! Full Circle Prenatals has this. They also suggest activated B vitamins. Check out the table on their prenatal review. This ‘test’ is also passed.
They also do a check for heavy metals.
Sadly, this matters. Supplements AKA vitamins are not regulated by the FDA and this study found they tend to be in popular prenatal brands in detectable levels.
The evidence is put to practice
Anyone who has dabbled in research, knows that putting science to practice in real life is hard. Regulators, especially in the US, are so slow to update minimum dietary requirements and in my opinion are corrupted by lobbyists. Full Circle Prenatals adds more of the good stuff like Vitamin D, based on good data.
I love supporting Registered Dietitians
Last, I’m about supporting this business. I think these nutrition experts are underutilized and are just the best resource around for figuring out how to fuel your body. I’ve never met the founder, but I respect her and want to support her.
Some ‘meh’ things worth noting
So not everything is perfect. Here are some of the things that might be a breaker for you. For me, I just learned to deal.
You have to take 8 pills a day
Yeah, this is the downside of Full Circle. They say it is because choline is bulky.
I had a backup
On days that I couldn’t swallow so many pills because I felt like crap, I went with my Smarty Pants Gummies.
I started adding them to my morning smoothie
About halfway through my pregnancy I started breaking apart the capsules and adding them to my daily smoothie. That was the best way for me to take them and I still do it today now that I’m breastfeeding.
Here’s my favorite recipe. I make it, then pour half out for my husband. Next I add the pill capsule and blend it up a bit more
There were Covid supply chain realities
This stuff is not on Amazon Prime! You need to make a plan. Unfortunately, due to Covid, the supply chain of this small business was impacted. They handled it great – you just preorder with a discount and they ship the vitamins when they are ready. Their time estimates were always spot on, which I appreciated. Now I order a few months at a time so it’s not really an issue.
There’s no Iron or DHA
You should talk to your health professional about this one. I was confident I had this covered by my diet, so I didn’t take an additional supplement. If you need this in a supplement, if I were you, I’d consider taking it on the side as a complement to the Full Circle Prenatal vitamins. But, hey, you do you.
It’s not the cheapest option
One bottle is a 30-day supply and that costs you $49.95 plus shipping. That’s about $1.67 per day.
For comparison, a 30 day supply of my Smarty Pants backup was $1.11 per day. Another buzzy brand (that didn’t cut it on the choline front for me) is Ritual Prenatals which costs $1.17 per day.
Bottom line? My Full Circle Prenatal review is go for it!
But that’s just me. Like I said, it was all about the choline! They also screen for heavy metals, are ahead of the curve on putting research into practice and have the quality clean ingredients.
If you choose, you can buy Full Circle Prenatal direct from their site.